A destroyed Russian tank stands by the road in front of an orthodox temple in the liberated town of Sviatohirsk.
A “small number” of T-14 Armata main battle tanks are set to be used in the war for the first time, according to the latest intelligence update from the Ministry of Defence.
But the MoD added: “In recent months, deployed Russian forces were reluctant to accept the first tranche of T-14 allocated to them because the vehicles were in such poor condition.
“It is unclear exactly what aspects of the vehicles prompted this reaction, but within the last three years, Russian officials have publicly described problems with the T-14’s engine and thermal imaging systems.”
In 2021, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu described the planned production run of the tanks for 2022 as an “experimental-industrial” batch.
The MoD update added: “Therefore, it is unlikely that any deployed T-14 tanks will have met the usual standards for new equipment to be deemed operational.”
The update came as it emerged that Ukraine’s pleas for tanks from its Western allies appear to have finally have been heard – with Germany and the US reportedly poised to deliver the vehicles to the under siege country.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz has eventually decided to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, it has been reported, and allow other countries such as Poland to dispatch their German-made artillery too.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is expected to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to help Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The UK has already announced that it will send Challenger 2 tanks to help Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.